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Leeds United pulling plug on Joel Ekstrand deal has been vindicated

Championship

Leeds United pulling plug on Joel Ekstrand deal has been vindicated

The Swede’s latest chapter is about to begin with new club AIK.

In the summer of 2016 Leeds United were looking into the signing of Swedish defender Joel Ekstrand.

It was a move that made perfect sense considering the talent of the player who had been a stalwart in Championship high-flying Watford for three seasons.

However, any team who signed Ekstrand knew they would be taking on a risk.

The Swede has missed the entire 2015-16 season with a serious knee injury and, in the end, that seemed to stop the Leeds move going through.

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

It left the player livid. Ekstrand told the story to Helsingborg Dagblad, claiming Leeds were trying to use his knee injury against him, so he pulled out of negotiations:

“I was offered a contract after the medical examination.

“Afterwards the negotiations were tough. The survey found that my knees looked different, which is obvious when one knee has been operated on for a cruciate ligament injury. They tried to use it against me. Therefore, it was as it was.”

In the end, Leeds snapped up Pontus Jansson that summer from Torino, and it is fair to say the latter Swede has had a better two years since.

Whilst Ekstrand was angry and frustrated with Leeds holding his injury record against him it looks like a justified opinion nearly two years on.

The 29-year-old has only played four times since his move to Leeds fell through.

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Ekstrand joined Bristol City that summer but featured just two times for the Robins before leaving in January, joining Rotherham United on a six-month deal.

He featured in a 5-0 thrashing against Cardiff City last February and did not play for Rotherham again.

Injuries have continued to blight the defender’s progress, which is a massive shame for a player with bags of Championship experience and potential.

Now Ekstrand is about to embark on a career rescue mission back in Sweden, after joining AIK Solna in January.

He made his debut for the club earlier this month in a Swedish Cup game v Halmstad, coming on for five minutes as a substitute.

The Swedish league gets underway for AIK today, as they take on newly promoted Dalkurd.

Ekstrand is officially listed as an injury doubt for the game so it appears his luck is still to change.

Leeds fans would have loved a fit and fighting Ekstrand at the heart of their defence throughout the past two seasons.

Unfortunately, he has simply not been able to stay fit long enough to recapture his excellent form from his Watford days.

Hopefully, he can get back to full fitness soon at AIK and put his name back on the map this season.

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Mathew Nash

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

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